An eight-year prison sentence would be the longest among hundreds of Capitol riot cases.
Federal prosecutors are recommending an eight-year prison sentence for an off-duty Virginia police officer who was convicted by a jury of storming the U.S. Capitol to obstruct Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.
Former Rocky Mount Police Sgt. Thomas Robertson used his law enforcement training to block police officers who were trying to protect the Capitol from a mob’s attack on Jan. 6, 2021, prosecutors said in a court filing Thursday supporting their sentencing recommendation.
“Instead of using his training and power to promote the public good, he attempted to overthrow the government,” they wrote.
An eight-year prison sentence would be the longest among hundreds of Capitol riot cases. The lengthiest so far is seven years and three months for Guy Reffitt, a Texas man who attacked the Capitol while armed with a holstered handgun.
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper is scheduled to sentence Robertson next Thursday. Prosecutors also asked the judge to sentence Robertson to three years of supervised release after any prison term.
Robertson’s attorney, Mark Rollins, is seeking a sentence below a sentencing guidelines range of 27 to 33 months of imprisonment. Prosecutors estimate a sentencing guidelines range of 87 months to 108 months, but Cooper isn’t bound by any of those estimates or recommendations.
Robertson didn’t testify at his trial before a jury convicted him in April of all six counts in his indictment, including charges that he interfered with police officers at the Capitol and that he entered a restricted area with a dangerous weapon, a large wooden stick.
Robertson’s lawyers said the U.S. Army veteran was using the stick to help him walk because he has a limp from getting shot in the right thigh while working as a private contractor for the U.S. Defense Department in Afghanistan in 2011.
In their sentencing memo, prosecutors accused Robertson of lying about his military service. Robertson identified himself on his resume as a U.S. Army Ranger school graduate, but his official military records don’t support that claim, prosecutors said. They said Robertson also lied to a reporter about receiving a Purple Heart.
Robertson’s jury trial was the second for a Capitol riot case. Reffitt’s was the first. Jurors have unanimously convicted seven riot defendants of all charges in their respective indictments.
Robertson traveled to Washington, D.C., on the morning of Jan. 6 with co-worker Jacob Fracker and a third man, a neighbor. Fracker also was an off-duty Rocky Mount police officer. He was scheduled to be tried alongside Robertson before he pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and agreed to cooperate with authorities.
Fracker testified at Robertson’s trial that he initially believed that he was merely trespassing when he entered the Capitol building. But he ultimately pleaded guilty to conspiring with Robertson to obstruct Congress.
Robertson’s lawyers conceded that he broke the law when he entered the Capitol during the riot. They encouraged jurors to convict Robertson of misdemeanor offenses but acquit him of felony charges.
Jurors saw some of Robertson’s posts on social media before and after the Capitol riot. In a Facebook post on Nov. 7, 2020, Robertson said “being disenfranchised by fraud is my hard line.”
“I’ve spent most of my adult life fighting a counter insurgency. (I’m) about to become part of one, and a very effective one,” he wrote.
In a letter addressed to the judge, Robertson said he takes full responsibility for his actions on Jan. 6 and “any poor decisions I made.” He blamed the vitriolic content of his social media posts on a mix of stress, alcohol abuse and “submersion in deep ‘rabbit holes’ of election conspiracy theory.”
“I sat around at night drinking too much and reacting to articles and sites given to me by Facebook” algorithms, he wrote.
The town fired Robertson and Fracker after the riot. Rocky Mount is about 25 miles south of Roanoke and has roughly 5,000 residents.
Robertson has been jailed since Cooper ruled last year that he violated the terms of his pretrial release by possessing firearms.
Roughly 850 people have been charged with federal crimes for their conduct on Jan. 6. Over 350 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanor offenses, and over 220 have been sentenced so far.
Bachelorette parties are starting to become more popular, leading more businesses to profit off of these celebrations.
A tradition that used to only last one evening has turned into its own vacation — bachelorette and bachelor parties.
As social media has gained popularity, experts say these bach parties, as they’re commonly known, may have become a bigger and bigger deal thanks to the growing need for everything to be “Instagrammable.”
According to data from The Bach, a popular app for bachelorette party planning, 42% of survey respondents planned to attend two or more bachelorette or bachelor parties in 2021. The average party spent $5,500-$7,000 in total on their trip.
77% of people surveyed said they rented a home for their party. These are typically big groups of about 10 people, and half of travelers said they planned on spending $250 or more on housing each.
Then there’s also all the other spending. From dining at local restaurants to shopping at local stores, these parties can be pricey. They can also include things like private chefs and transportainment — like party buses, pedal pubs and booze cruises.
Newsy hit the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, the number one bach party destination, to speak with transportainment companies. They’ve experienced a lot of growth in recent years.
Companies we spoke with said bachelor and bachelorette parties have been coming here for a while. But as Nashville has become a more popular bach party destination, these transportainment companies have really taken off. Honky Tonk Party Express was one of the first bus companies in Nashville and they operate 38 buses.
Grant Rosenblatt is the owner of Honky Tonk Party Express.
“We do 1,800 bachelorette individuals a weekend individual that equates any party comes between 12 and a half is a rough average per group,” Rosenblatt said. “There are other party buses and other in other cities like your Miamis or Austins, but there’s nothing that’s quite where this open air experience is. And when our company started in 2016, there was nothing like that in the country. Now, since then, it’s became so popular that other cities are emulating it.”
While many cities struggled with tourism throughout the pandemic, bach parties provided a boost to local economies. For instance, data from The Bach shows that in 2021, 13,000 bach parties were hosted in Nashville, and this year, 31,000 are planned there. The more parties, the more people are spending money in these cities. The Extreme Experience in Nashville actually launched during the pandemic.
Parris McKinney Jr. is the owner of Extreme Experience.
“Extreme is designed to have your own club on the bus. So, as you say, you have a lounge. You have your bar and you have your dance floor. So, I came up with the concept as to, you know, you’re more safe on here than you are out there,” McKinney said.
These types of activities got so popular, Nashville has worked on adding new regulations for these companies, like applying for permits and allowing alcohol only on enclosed vehicles, after complaints from local residents that some visitors were getting out of hand.
Scottsdale, Arizona, is another popular destination to go to for these kinds of parties. It jumped from number five to number two on the bach travel trends report.
We spoke with bachelorette party planning companies that offer services like decorating rental properties with popular themes, creating itineraries and stocking the fridge.
Scottsdale Bachelorette is one of them. Casey Hohman started it in 2018 as a side hustle, but last year it became profitable enough to become his full-time gig.
“Throughout the pandemic, you know, Arizona was one of the states and Scottsdale was one of those cities where there weren’t a lot of restrictions when it came to nightlife, when it came to restaurants, mask mandates, things like that. So, a lot of people actually detoured their bachelorette parties from other cities like Vegas and Florida to Scottsdale,” Hohman said. “This year we already have over 750 parties booked for this year and that’s up from about 300 last year. So, we’re thinking we’re probably going to end up tripling the business this year, just in one year, which is pretty awesome.”
Most parties come Thursday through Sunday. Scottsdale Bachelorette sees about 20 to 30 a week with services that cost anywhere from $800 to $1000.
Girl About Town is another bachelorette party planning company in Scottsdale that sees about the same number of parties per week and with services that range from $175 to $2000. Meghan Alfonso, the founder of the company, says they, too, are benefiting from the increased popularity of bach parties in the city.
“We already hit our goal or our last shared goal now. So, we already have had 400 plus parties that have come through right now, which is July, the end of July. And so, it’s just wild how fast the city has grown as well as how many people want to come here for their bachelorette. And so, each year we’re just anticipating almost double,” Alfonso said.
There are also other cities on the list that are up and coming. Girl About Town has expanded their business to some of them, and is looking to continue expanding into more.
“We’re also in New Orleans and Denver. And so, we have two girls that are in Denver that work it together. And then we have another girl in New Orleans who just does it by herself,” Alfonso said.
Bachelor parties do come through some of these popular cities, too, but experts say they don’t tend to have all the decorations and services that bachelorette parties have.
A survey from Savings.com found that bachelor party guests tend to spend more on activities like golf or sporting events. These groups also tend to go to far-away places, making their costs of airfare higher.
“I think just in general, the wedding industry has really grown from just the wedding to all these other things that happened before that. I think bridal showers have gotten bigger, engagement parties have gotten bigger. Even if you look at like gender reveal party that didn’t exist before, you know, and now that’s like a big party. So, I think, especially post-pandemic and, just thinking about what a special time this is, people are extending that party from just the wedding to all these other fun things that they can do leading up to it,” Hohman said.
More than 100 million Americans are under excessive heat advisories or warnings as a dangerous heat wave blankets parts of the U.S.
With temperatures reaching the triple digits, even people who are used to working outside in Florida are feeling the heat and struggling to stay cool.
“Shade, lots of fluids — you have to keep fluids in you,” said John McMillan, a Florida contractor. “Mostly water, electrolytes, you sweat so much because of the humidity and got to find the best way to cool off.”
Heat alerts are covering areas in southern California, parts of the Southwest, the southern plains and parts of the Northeast. There’s no relief in sight for the week.
Firefighters in Utah have been battling wildfires. They’re used to heavy gear in the heat, but they’re also watching out for each other.
“We’re seeing if anyone is showing signs of heat exhaustion or excessive heat… and when that happens, you know, you’ve got to get yourself out of that gear, you’ve got to get yourself out of those clothes and get yourself some fluid,” said Jon Smith, a firefighter with the North Tooele Fire Department in Utah. “The key is to drink water before you’re thirsty.”
Experts emphasize the importance of the right kind of hydration.
“We want to try to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and fruit juices… just because of the sugar content in it,” said Emily Jewkes, with the Bear River Health Department in Utah. “We want to stick to water or sports drinks with electrolytes in it.”
In this extreme heat, officials suggest planning for access to air conditioning, either at home with a portable window unit or in other spaces. They also recommend considering battery-operated fans in case of power outages and having bottles or jugs of water on hand, especially if you’re living in a drought-prone area.
It’s important to remember if it’s too hot for humans, it’s too hot for pets, so make sure they’re hydrated and cool.
Plus, it’s obviously the worst time for an air conditioner to fail, but it’s also the most likely.
“These systems break down when they’re working the hardest, and they work the hardest in the summertime, when you’re getting 11 and 12 hours of constant run time,” said Kurtis Vosquez, general manager at Smiley’s Heating and Cooling.
They say to be prepared to be patient. Supply chain issues for parts and labor shortages could affect repairs. Also, remember to check up on neighbors and relatives, especially if they live alone.
OREGON HOUSE, Calif. — In a tiny town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, a religious organization called the Fellowship of Friends has established an elaborate, 1,200-acre compound full of art and ornate architecture.
More than 200 miles away from the Fellowship’s base in Oregon House, Calif., the religious sect, which believes a higher consciousness can be achieved by embracing fine arts and culture, has also gained a foothold inside a business unit at Google.
Even in Google’s freewheeling office culture, which encourages employees to speak their own minds and pursue their own projects, the Fellowship’s presence in the business unit was unusual. As many as 12 Fellowship members and close relatives worked for the Google Developer Studio, or GDS, which produces videos showcasing the company’s technologies, according to a lawsuit filed by Kevin Lloyd, a 34-year-old former Google video producer.
critically acclaimed winery; and collected art from across the world, including more than $11 million in Chinese antiques.
Revelations.” Mr. Burton described Apollo as the seed of a new civilization that would emerge after a global apocalypse.
sold its collection of Chinese antiques at auction. In 2015, after its chief winemaker left the organization, its winery ceased production. The Fellowship’s president, Greg Holman, declined to comment for this article.
The Google Developer Studio is run by Peter Lubbers, a longtime member of the Fellowship of Friends. A July 2019 Fellowship directory, obtained by The Times, lists him as a member. Former members confirm that he joined the Fellowship after moving to the United States from the Netherlands.
At Google, he is a director, a role that is usually a rung below vice president in Google management and usually receives annual compensation in the high six figures or low seven figures.
Previously, Mr. Lubbers worked for the staffing company Kelly Services. M. Catherine Jones, Mr. Lloyd’s lawyer, won a similar suit against Kelly Services in 2008 on behalf of Lynn Noyes, who claimed that the company had failed to promote her because she was not a member of the Fellowship. A California court awarded Ms. Noyes $6.5 million in damages.
Ms. Noyes said in an interview that Mr. Lubbers was among a large contingent of Fellowship members from the Netherlands who worked for the company in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
At Kelly Services, Mr. Lubbers worked as a software developer before a stint at Oracle, the Silicon Valley software giant, according to his LinkedIn profile, which was recently deleted. He joined Google in 2012, initially working on a team that promoted Google technology to outside software developers. In 2014, he helped create G.D.S., which produced videos promoting Google developer tools.
Kelly Services declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Under Mr. Lubbers, the group brought in several other members of the Fellowship, including a video producer named Gabe Pannell. A 2015 photo posted to the internet by Mr. Pannell’s father shows Mr. Lubbers and Mr. Pannell with Mr. Burton, who is known as “The Teacher” or “Our Beloved Teacher” within the Fellowship. A caption on the photo, which was also recently deleted, calls Mr. Pannell a “new student.”
Echoing claims made in the lawsuit, Erik Johanson, a senior video producer who has worked for the Google Developer Studio since 2015 through ASG, said the team’s leadership abused the hiring system that brought workers in as contractors.
“They were able to further their own aims very rapidly because they could hire people with far less scrutiny and a far less rigorous on-boarding process than if these people were brought on as full-time employees,” he said. “It meant that no one was looking very closely when all these people were brought on from the foothills of the Sierras.”
Mr. Lloyd said that after applying for his job he had interviewed with Mr. Pannell twice, and that he had reported directly to Mr. Pannell when he joined a 25-person Bay Area video production team inside GDS in 2017. He soon noticed that nearly half this team, including Mr. Lubbers and Mr. Pannell, came from Oregon House.
Google paid to have a state-of-the-art sound system installed in the Oregon House home of one Fellowship member who worked for the team as a sound designer, according to the suit. Mr. Lubbers disputed this claim in a phone interview, saying the equipment was old and would have been thrown out if the team had not sent it to the home.
The sound designer’s daughter also worked for the team as a set designer. Additional Fellowship members and their relatives were hired to staff Google events, including a photographer, a masseuse, Mr. Lubbers’s wife and his son, who worked as a DJ at company parties.
The company frequently served wine from Grant Marie, a winery in Oregon House run by a Fellowship member who previously managed the Fellowship’s winery, according to the suit and a person familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified for fear of reprisal.
“My personal religious beliefs are a deeply held private matter,” Mr. Lubbers said. “In all my years in tech, they have never played a role in hiring. I have always performed my role by bringing in the right talent for the situation — bringing in the right vendors for the jobs.”
He said ASG, not Google, hired contractors for the GDS team, adding that it was fine for him to “encourage people to apply for those roles.”And he said that in recent years, the team has grown to more than 250 people, including part-time employees.
Mr. Pannell said in a phone interview that the team brought in workers from “a circle of trusted friends and families with extremely qualified backgrounds,” including graduates of the University of California, Berkeley.
In 2017 and 2018, according to the suit, Mr. Pannell attended video shoots intoxicated and occasionally threw things at the presenter when he was unhappy with a performance. Mr. Pannell said that he did not remember the incidents and that they did not sound like something he would do. He also acknowledged that he’d had problems with alcohol and had sought help.
After seven months at Google, Mr. Pannell was made a full-time employee, according to the suit. He was later promoted to senior producer and then executive producer, according to his LinkedIn profile, which has also been deleted.
Mr. Lloyd brought much of this to the attention of a manager inside the team, he said. But he was repeatedly told not to pursue the matter because Mr. Lubbers was a powerful figure at Google and because Mr. Lloyd could lose his job, according to his lawsuit. He said he was fired in February 2021 and was not given a reason. Google, Mr. Lubbers and Mr. Pannell said he had been fired for performance issues.
Ms. Jones, Mr. Lloyd’s lawyer, argued that Google’s relationship with ASG allowed members of the Fellowship to join the company without being properly vetted. “This is one of the methods the Fellowship used in the Kelly case,” she said. “They can get through the door without the normal scrutiny.”
Mr. Lloyd is seeking damages for wrongful termination, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination and the intentional infliction of emotion distress. But he said he worries that, by doing so much business with its members, Google fed money into the Fellowship of Friends.
“Once you become aware of this, you become responsible,” Mr. Lloyd said. “You can’t look away.”
“You could feel Christmas was coming,” Amanda Whiteside, a manager at Gordon’s Wine Bar in London, said of the crowds and buzz. “And then it was gone.”
Throughout Britain and in other parts of Europe, new government restrictions combined with heightened anxiety over the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus have drastically reduced business at restaurants, pubs, event venues and stores, prompting urgent calls for additional government assistance.
In Britain, the government responded Tuesday, announcing 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) in aid for the hospitality industry, with one-time grants of £6,000 and rebates for employees’ sick leave.
The additional assistance was promised as a fresh wave of anxiety over the economy washes over the region. In France, government ministers announced Tuesday additional aid up to 12 million euros for travel agencies, events, caterers and indoor leisure companies that suffer big operating losses this month.
Spain, the government has scheduled an emergency meeting with regional leaders on Wednesday to discuss whether to adopt new restrictions. Italy’s government is meeting on Thursday.
“We are in a different phase now where lockdown will be potentially more costly,” said Claus Vistesen, chief eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “Up until now, we’ve been used to lockdowns followed by support from the government. I think that will be the case as well, but support will be more conditional, less comprehensive than before.”
Britain recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Europe over the last seven days, according to the World Health Organization.
On Monday, organizations representing more than 100,000 businesses around the country sent an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, demanding more tax relief and grants to tide them over.
new requirements that customers must show proof of vaccination or recent recovery. And in the Netherlands, where the government announced a lockdown over the weekend, calls to the nation’s business registry asking for help climbed past 400 on Monday — seven times the number logged the previous Monday.
known as Plan B, on Dec. 8 as a response to Omicron, cancellations have been rolling in and foot traffic has disappeared in some areas.
At Gordon’s Wine Bar, it was common to find every table in its cavelike cellar and on its outdoor patio full and a long line of customers waiting. Then Plan B was put in place.
The drop-off, said Ms. Whiteside, the administrative manager, “was very dramatic.”
Customers thinned out, and several staff members got Covid, she said. Gordon’s is now offering only outside service, and Ms. Whiteside estimates that sales are down 25 percent.
Half a mile away, in Soho, the Coach and Horses pub was similarly contending with fewer customers and sick staff. Last week, business was off by a third, while on Monday it fell “off the edge of a cliff,” said Alison Ross, the manager.
Kaasbar Utrecht, is shuttered, and $100,000 at the cafe. Plans to rebuild a nightclub he owns that was burned in a fire in January have been postponed. He has had to let go most of his 80-person staff and is now trying to make money selling mulled wine in the streets and cheese packages door to door.
Mr. Waseq said that because he opened his business after the pandemic began and did not have 2019 sales to use as a benchmark comparison, he was not eligible for government assistance.
Ron Sinnige, a spokesman for the national business registry, the Kamer van Koophandel, said the agency was flooded with calls this week asking about financial assistance, advice or liquidating their operations. Some were seeking guidance on how to qualify as an essential business — could a clothing store sell candy and soda, could a beauty salon offer postsurgical massages or list Botox injections as a medical procedure?
The questions were a sign of people’s creativity and despair, Mr. Sinnige said. “As opposed to previous lockdowns, people are really at the end of their financial flexibility and emotional flexibility,” he said.
France has canceled a menu of year-end celebrations and barred tourists from Britain, a blow to the ski industry.
On Tuesday, the Swedish government imposed some new restrictions that included allowing only seated customers to be served in restaurants and bars.
Ireland imposed an early curfew of 8 p.m. on restaurants and bars that began on Monday, while limiting attendance at events.
In Denmark, restaurants and bars must cut off serving alcohol after 10 p.m., and a slate of venues and event spaces including theaters, museums, zoos, concert halls and Tivoli, Copenhagen’s landmark amusement park, have been closed.
Switzerland’s restrictions that bar unvaccinated people from going to restaurants, gyms and museums are expected to last until Jan. 24.
In Germany, the check-in process at stores, which requires stopping everyone at the door and asking to see vaccination certification and an ID, was deterring shoppers at what would normally be the busiest time of the year, the German Trade Association said.
Retailers surveyed by the group reported a 37 percent drop in sales from Christmas 2019.
“After months of lockdowns, the restrictions are once again bringing many retailers to the edge of their existence,” said Stefan Genth, head of the Trade Association.
A court in the northern state of Lower Saxony last week threw out the restrictions there, after the Woolworth department store chain challenged them on grounds that they were not fairly applied and that requiring shoppers to wear masks provided sufficient protection. The ruling on Thursday raised hopes that other states would follow its lead, giving a final boost to last-minute shoppers.
“Last weekend was better, but overall the shopping season has been more than depressing,” said Mark Alexander Krack, head of the Lower Saxony Trade Association.
Widespread flight cancellations. Excruciating waits for customer service. Unruly passengers.
And that was all before the holiday travel season.
Even in normal times, the days around Thanksgiving are a delicate period for the airlines. But this week is the industry’s biggest test since the pandemic began, as millions more Americans — emboldened by vaccinations and reluctant to spend another holiday alone — are expected to take to the skies than during last year’s holidays.
A lot is riding on the carriers’ ability to pull it off smoothly.
“For many people, this will be the first time they’ve gotten together with family, maybe in a year, year and a half, maybe longer, so it’s very significant,” said Kathleen Bangs, a former commercial pilot who is a spokeswoman for FlightAware, an aviation data provider. “If it goes poorly, that’s when people might rethink travel plans for Christmas. And that’s what the airlines don’t want.”
The Transportation Security Administration said it expected to screen about 20 million passengers at airports in the 10 days that began Friday, a figure approaching prepandemic levels. Two million passed through checkpoints on Saturday alone, about twice as many as on the Saturday before last Thanksgiving.
lengthy note to customers last month.
His apology came after Southwest canceled nearly 2,500 flights over a four-day stretch — nearly 18 percent of its scheduled flights, according to FlightAware — as a brief bout of bad weather and an equally short-lived air traffic control staffing shortage snowballed.
Weeks later, American Airlines suffered a similar collapse, canceling more than 2,300 flights in four days — nearly 23 percent of its schedule — after heavy winds slowed operations at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, its largest hub.
American and Southwest have said they are working to address the problems, offering bonuses to encourage employees to work throughout the holiday period, stepping up hiring and pruning ambitious flight plans.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing roughly 50,000 flight attendants at 17 airlines, gave the carriers good marks for their preparations.
“First and foremost, we are getting demand back after the biggest crisis aviation has ever faced,” she said.
“I think there has been a lot of good planning,” she added. “And barring a major weather event, I think that the airlines are going to be able to handle the demand.”
Flight crews have had to contend with overwork and disruptive and belligerent passengers, leaving them drained and afraid for their safety.
Helene Albert, 54, a longtime flight attendant for American Airlines, said she took an 18-month leave by choice that was offered because of the pandemic. When she returned to work on Nov. 1 on domestic routes, she said, she saw a difference in passengers from when she began her leave.
“People are hostile,” she said. “They don’t know how to wear masks and they act shocked when I tell them we don’t have alcohol on our flights anymore.”
begun investigations into 991 episodes involving passenger misbehavior in 2021, more than in the last seven years combined. In some cases, the disruptions have forced flights to be delayed or even diverted — an additional strain on air traffic.
gathering storm systems were threatening to deliver gusty winds and rain that could interfere with flights, but for the most part, the weather is not expected to cause major disruptions.
“Overall, the news is pretty good in terms of the weather in general across the country cooperating with travel,” said Jon Porter, the chief meteorologist for AccuWeather. “We’re not dealing with any big storms across the country, and in many places the weather will be quite favorable for travel.”
Even so, AAA, the travel services organization, recommended that airline passengers arrive two hours ahead of departure for domestic flights and three hours ahead for international destinations during the Thanksgiving travel wave.
Some lawmakers warned that a Monday vaccination deadline for all federal employees could disrupt T.S.A. staffing at airports, resulting in long lines at security checkpoints, but the agency said those concerns were unfounded.
“The compliance rate is very high, and we do not anticipate any disruptions because of the vaccination requirements,” R. Carter Langston, a T.S.A. spokesman, said in a statement on Friday.
With many people able to do their jobs or classes remotely, some travelers left town early, front-running what are typically the busiest travel days before the holiday.
TripIt, a travel app that organizes itineraries, said 33 percent of holiday travelers booked Thanksgiving flights for last Friday and Saturday, according to its reservation data. (That number was slightly down from last year, when 35 percent of travelers left on the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving, and marginally higher than in 2019, when 30 percent of travelers did so, TripIt said.)
Among those taking advantage of the flexibility was Emilia Lam, 18, a student at New York University who traveled home to Houston on Saturday. She is doing her classes this week remotely, she said, and planned her early getaway to get ahead of the crush. “The flights are going to be way more crowded,” she said, as Thursday approaches.
Robert Chiarito and Maria Jimenez Moya contributed reporting.
After the company threatened to bring in replacement workers, the employees were dismissive. “No one can find workers now — where do they think they’ll find 400?” Ms. Glazar, the local union official, said shortly before the strike ended. “That’s the only thing that keeps us smiling out there.”
There were also indications that Heaven Hill was running low on inventory as the strike wore on, crimping the company’s ability to age and bottle alcohol that it produced in Louisville. “We could see the truck movement had slowed down from week one to week six — there were not near as many trucks in and out,” Ms. Glazar said.
Josh Hafer, a company spokesman, said, “There may have been some small-scale products impacted, but not to any large degree.”
Still, the workers were under enormous stress. Their health benefits ended when their contract expired, and some workers found their insurance was no longer valid while trying to squeeze in a final doctor’s appointment.
And while jobs in the area appeared plentiful, many workers preferred to stay in the whiskey-making business. “I like what I do, I enjoy everything about bourbon,” said Austin Hinshaw, a worker who voted to strike at the Heaven Hill plant. “I have worked at a factory before, and it’s not my thing.” In late October, Mr. Hinshaw accepted a job at a distillery in town where he had been applying for months.
A few days earlier, Heaven Hill management had worked out a new agreement with the union. The proposed contract included a commitment to largely maintain the existing overtime pay rules for current workers, though it left open the possibility that future workers would be scheduled on weekends at regular pay, which grated on union members. The company also offered a slightly larger pay increase than it had offered just before the workers’ contract expired in September.
In a statement, Heaven Hill pointed to the generous health benefits and increased wages and vacation time in the new contract.